The ABC’sofDAP Developmentally AppropriatePractices Cynthia Daniel
A • Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle. • Appreciate and support the close ties between the child and family.
B • Bring each child’s home culture and language into the shared culture of the school so that the unique contributions of each group are recognized and valued by others.
C • Create a caring community of learners. • Construct appropriate curriculum. • Consistent, positive relationships with a limited number of adults and other children are a fundamental determinant of healthy human development.
D • Developmentally appropriate curriculum provides for all areas of a child’s development: physical, emotional, social, linguistic, aesthetic, and cognitive. • Develop, refine, and use a wide repertoire of teaching strategies to enhance children’s learning and development.
E • Ensure that learning experiences are meaningful, relevant, and respectful for the participating children and their families. • Establish and maintain regular, frequent two-way communication with children’s parents.
F • Functions as a community of learners in which all participants consider and contribute to each other’s well-being and learning. • Foster children’s collaboration with peers on interesting, important enterprises.
G • Group children for the purposes of instruction, supporting collaboration among children, and building a sense of community.
H • Help children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust, respect, and positive regard. • Hold children accountable to standards of acceptable behavior.
I • Interacting with other children in small groups provides a context for children to operate on the edge of their developing capacities. • Identify children who have special needs and plan appropriate curriculum and teaching for them.
J • Judgments about developmentally appropriate practice are constructed EACH DAY by teachers in relation to a specific group of children and within a specific social and cultural context.
K • Know the social and cultural contexts in which children live to ensure that learning experiences are meaningful, relevant, and respectful for the participating children and their families.
L • Listen and acknowledge children’s feelings and frustrations, respond with respect, guide children to resolve conflicts, and model skills that help children to solve their own problems.
M • Methods of assessment are appropriate to the age and experiences of young children. • Moving from either/or to both/and thinking in early childhood practice. • “Children benefit from engaging in self-initiated spontaneous play or from teacher-planned and structured activities.” Both are beneficial for children.
N • Necessary supports need to be available to both teachers AND children to ensure that children’s individual needs are met. • It promotes continuity of children’s educational experiences and feelings of belonging to the group is given high priority.
O • Observe children’s spontaneous play and interaction with the physical environment and with other children to learn about their interests, abilities, and developmental progress.
P • Provide opportunities for children to be genuinely successful and to be challenged. • Pose problems, ask questions, and make comments and suggestions that stimulate children’s thinking and extend their learning.
Q • Qualified personnel is an essential element to children’s education. • Teachers must be experts in child development in order to construct age-appropriate curriculum.
R • Recognize that children are best understood in the context of their family, culture and society. • Redirect children to more acceptable behaviors or use their mistakes as learning opportunities.
S • Social relationships are an important context for learning. • Set clear, consistent, and fair limits for children’s behavior.
T • Teachers respect, value, and accept children and treat them with dignity at all times. • Teachers make it a priority to know each child well.
U • Use various strategies that encourage children to reflect on and “revisit” their learning experiences. • Understand that children develop and learn in the context of their families and communities.
V • Value the quality of children’s lives in the present, not just preparation for the future. • Variety of materials and opportunities for children’s learning experiences should be provided in the learning environment.
W • Whole-group meetings or discussion times give children an opportunity to build a sense of community and shared purpose. • Work with parents to resolve problems or differences of opinions and be respectful of cultural and family differences.
X • eXtend the range of children’s interests and the scope of their thought through presenting novel eXperiences and introducing stimulating ideas, problems, experiences, or hypotheses.
Y • Young children construct their own understanding of concepts from their experiences, they need many challenging opportunities to use and develop the thinking skills they bring with them and to identify and solve problems that interest them.
Z • Zones that include safe, age-appropriate equipment and play spaces should be provided, whether inside the classroom or outside on a playground.